York’s cup-a-soup queen retires

York’s “cup-a-soup” queen is retiring. Joyce Pereira, administrative assistant in the Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration, hung up her soup spoon as of June 30 to pursue her many hobbies and community interests.

Right: A sweet farewell

On June 27, over 100 members of the York community gathered to bid farewell to Pereira during an afternoon reception in the Hospitality York Dining Room on York’s Keele campus. A long-time presence at the University, Pereira served a number of departments before “coming home” to the Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration on the ninth floor of the Ross Building.

Left: Vince Pereira (left), Joyce Pereira and Gary Brewer

“Joyce recently completed 25 years at the University. She started in 1981 and has joined that elite group of 25-year long service employees, particularly important because Joyce has served for 20 years in the Vice-President Finance & Administration office under four vice-presidents,” said Brewer.

In addition to her many administrative duties, Pereira was responsible for coordinating a number of special events hosted by the office. The events included the 25-year long service awards for non-academic staff, Take Our Kids to Work day, retirement celebrations and special recognition events for employees, groups and project teams within the finance division. “I think it is in those kinds of events that Joyce has excelled. She has brought a very human face at the office and I think that she is the only person in the office who brings happiness and joy to people when doing her daily duties. Generally the rest of us don’t get that kind of reception,” said Brewer with a chuckle.

Steve Dranitsaris, senior executive officer in the Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration, spoke warmly about his colleague. “I think it is wonderful that after all the celebrations Joyce has planned that we get to organize one for Joyce,” said Dranitsaris.

Right: Steve Dranitsaris (left) with Joyce

“Everyone’s favourite time of year with Joyce is the United Way campaign. A number of years ago, Joyce came up with the idea for the lunch hour cup-a-soup event as a visible means for the ninth floor offices to support the United Way campaign through a friendly competition to see which office could raise the most money selling soup,” said Dranitsaris. “This was the toughest task I was ever asked to take on!

“You have to get out in the middle of Central Square among all the employees and students and convince them to give two dollars for a cup of soup. Joyce trained me how to be a barker out there. She said to me ‘This is the way you do it. Two bucks! Just two bucks, get your cup of soup and support the United Way’,” he laughed. “It was just absolutely amazing.”

Left: Cutting the cake

The VPFA team had been through many challenges and accomplishments, Dranitsaris said to Pereira. “Through everything, you have been constant in your focus on people providing the support, the reassurance, the tender loving care and the recognition they deserve for the important work they do. We are going to miss you very much.”

An avid craftsperson, Pereira plans to pursue her interests in stained glass and photography. She is also very involved in the community of Newmarket and has plans to give back through volunteering with her local church. The Pereiras are proud parents of one daughter, Joanne (BA ’96), who lives in Ottawa.